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View Full Version : Help---Need Budget Lunch Ideas


RookieDisneyMom
05-27-2010, 11:18 AM
I want or really need to start bringing my lunch to work everyday but I don't want to have ham and cheese or chicken salad sandwhiches everyday...What do you guys pack for lunch?

maggieusa
05-27-2010, 11:26 AM
What about lefterovers.

KT27
05-27-2010, 11:28 AM
salads
crackers & cheese
fruit salad
pudding/jello made at home & put into 1/2 cup Tupperware
frozen grapes
pasta salad
carrots & dip (or other veggies on hand)
leftovers from dinner
different wraps (spinach, tomato basil etc) with veggies & meat/cheese
chicken salad & crackers
greek salad & pita
hummus & toasted pita wedges
smart ones/lean cuisine
cheese plate

gk90
05-27-2010, 11:37 AM
English muffins with turkey, bagels & cream cheese, pretzels and cheese

We look out for hearty canned soups like Campbell's Chunky ("the soup that eats like a meal") on sale and buy as many as we can when they're $1 ~ $1.25. The kids bring 1/2 a can to school in a thermos, with crackers or pretzel sticks. Do you have access to a microwave at work? DH brings a whole can & a big bowl and heats it up in the microwave.

ElizK
05-27-2010, 11:42 AM
I like to take leftovers, too. I'm not a big sandwich eater. If no leftovers are available I take crackers, yogurt, and a piece of fruit.

sydneysmom
05-27-2010, 12:00 PM
my DH and I work for the same company, so it's easy to pack both our lunches each morning. We usually bring the Healthy Choice steamers, a small cup of either peas or corn and a hunts sugar free chocolate pudding. It's really very good. Sometimes we'll throw in some fruit for a snack during the day so we don't hit the vending machines.

but I'll stock up on the Healthy Choice when they go on sale at our Kroger....last time we got them for $ 1.50 each ! :woohoo: so that makes for cheap lunches.

Other than that, my DH will do leftovers and I'll make a salad. it's nice to see how much money you save when you bring your lunch !! :cutie:

blanq
05-27-2010, 12:20 PM
salads
crackers & cheese
fruit salad
pudding/jello made at home & put into 1/2 cup Tupperware
frozen grapes
pasta salad
carrots & dip (or other veggies on hand)
leftovers from dinner
different wraps (spinach, tomato basil etc) with veggies & meat/cheese
chicken salad & crackers
greek salad & pita
hummus & toasted pita wedges
smart ones/lean cuisine
cheese plate



This is a great list!

I also like to take soup. Sometimes it's homemade, but I think the canned stuff is fine too. I will bring a few crackers and maybe some laughing cow cheese to have with it.

I have a weird lunch today: leftover homemade potato salad, an apple, and a sliver of a brownie. None too healthy!

swilshire
05-27-2010, 04:43 PM
Leftover are my first choice, but if it's slim pickings in the refrigerator, I'll buy a head of lettuce and other salad stuff and make quick salads all week. Can't wait until I can bring homegrown tomatoes every day. I also keep a few cans of soup in my office cabinet. If I find a good deal on frozen meals I'll buy a few, but I tire of them pretty fast.

Sheila

MrsPooh
05-27-2010, 05:32 PM
I bring my lunch every day and I'm not much of a sandwich person unless it is fresh from the deli or sandwich shop so I avoid bringing sandwiches.

I bring leftovers most days. I also like to bring salads. Somedays the pantry and fridge are nearly bare so I bring whatever I find. This week two days I grabbed some shredded cheese and a tortilla and warmed it in the microwave. I brought along salsa & sour cream - it was fairly yummy.

One day about a week ago I grabbed a frozen corn dog for lunch. Everyone at lunch was drooling over it and wishing they had it. It was my lunch only because it was the only thing I could grab fast and I was running late.

pezheadmeg
05-27-2010, 06:54 PM
I ACTUALLY DON'T DO SANDWICHES! And I'm a religious zealot of a brownbagger.

Leftovers, Leftovers, Leftovers. I have access to a microwave, so it's easy to heat up.

The other thing I do is grill up turkey burgers or chicken early in the week. Then they're good to go. Add in some sliced veggies and they are done.

I've discovered that a box of pasta can pretty much cover lunches for the week. The trick to get it to keep is to toss it with olive or canola oil as soon as you drain it.

And I always have a bag of frozen pre-cooked chicken in the freezer. Worse comes to worse, that or a lean cuisine becomes lunch.

Disney845
05-27-2010, 06:58 PM
Assuming you have access to a microwave and fridge (or lunch sack with ice packs) for some of these

Leftovers
Hot Dogs
Ravioli (Chef Boyardee)
Cheese and Crackers
Veggies and Dip
Fruit and Yogurt
Cereal/milk
Salads
Tuna fish (on crackers, on a salad, or as a sandwich)
Tortilla scoop chips with salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream (can add ground beef, beans, corn, etc)
Chilli with corn chips


Mostly though I eat:

Smart Ones-so many varieties you can eat a different meal every day...they are high in sodium like many TV dinners, so watch that if it is a concern...I stock up when they are on sale and then I use coupons (sign up on their website for emails)

or

I like to make wraps using the Flat Out Flatbread Italian, Laughing Cow Garlic cheese spread, Boar's Head chicken from deli, cherry tomatoes, and tons of the "european mix" of the salad in a bag mixes. I will eat this with baby carrots on the side. It is a yummy and low cal lunch.

One of my coworkers brings a can of soup almost everyday (I am NOT a soup fan) or she eats those more "mature" versions of the cheapo ramen noodles (don't remember the brand...).

Danemom
05-27-2010, 07:04 PM
I do a thing at work with 4 of my co-workers where everyone brings lunch one day of the week for all five of us. We do it to lose weight (it has to be 5 Weight Watcher points or less) but I would do it anyway because it is so much fun to be surprised for lunch everyday! I've tried so many new things this way.
Maybe you could do something like that at your job?

kellia
05-27-2010, 07:06 PM
I am so sick of sandwiches every day!! My sons are starting to agree.

We are starting to do more of:
- wrap lunchmeat or chicken in a tortilla for a wrap
-cottage cheese
-cheese and crackers
-yogurt
-salad- put lunchmeat or leftover chicken on it
-pasta salad
leftovers!!

MommyJack
05-27-2010, 07:19 PM
I don't have access to a microwave and usually eat lunch in the car on the run. One of my favorites is Hummus with Triscuts and a Greek Yogert. I also bring a couple of pieces of fruit and a snack bar just in case I get hungry later in the day.

sunshine74
05-27-2010, 08:45 PM
I do a thing at work with 4 of my co-workers where everyone brings lunch one day of the week for all five of us. We do it to lose weight (it has to be 5 Weight Watcher points or less) but I would do it anyway because it is so much fun to be surprised for lunch everyday! I've tried so many new things this way.
Maybe you could do something like that at your job?

what a very cool idea! You know it will be healthy, and at the same time you only have to think about prepping lunch once a week. I love it! :thumbsup2

amylynne01
05-27-2010, 08:50 PM
What about making a pasta salad to have a couple of days? There are tons of variations on a pasta salad!

3boymthr
05-27-2010, 10:12 PM
I try to bring my lunch every day and while it's not necessarily the healthiest thing in the world a can of soup is always a good lunch. I keep a can of progresso chicken noodle and a bowl and spoon in my desk for those days I forget to bring something with me. Add some crackers and I'm good to go. :thumbsup2

buzz5985
05-28-2010, 12:38 AM
Our family are sandwich eaters. What we will do it (depending on sales) buy a chicken, roast beef or turkey breast. Bake them, I have a slicer and I slice up the meat for sandwiches. I don't really save that much money - but we don't get the extra sodium etc found in deli meat. We will also grill chicken for salads.

swilshire
05-28-2010, 06:29 AM
I do a thing at work with 4 of my co-workers where everyone brings lunch one day of the week for all five of us. We do it to lose weight (it has to be 5 Weight Watcher points or less) but I would do it anyway because it is so much fun to be surprised for lunch everyday! I've tried so many new things this way.
Maybe you could do something like that at your job?

LOL.:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl: We did this one summer a long time ago. Four of us picniced at a nice park near work and we went out to a restaurant on Fridays. It started simple and the male member of the group escalated it quickly because his wife always brought in something terrific. We all gained weight and the group refused to repeat it the following summer.

I often think back fondly to that summer.

The secret to taking leftovers is to plan for them over the weekend. We cook extras of various foods and bring home doggie bags if we eat out.

When we have fresh veggies in the garden I do a homemade chicken salad and wrap in tortillas. No real recipe. Just chicken, spices, tomatoes and ranch dressing. YUM!

Sheila

bookgirl
05-28-2010, 06:36 PM
Salad with cut up deli meat or leftovers

Homemade soup (make a big batch then freeze in the round ziplock containers, grab one from the freezer, then nuke at lunch) with crackers

tortillas rolled around deli meat/lettuce/salad dressing

WW frozen entrees & cottage cheese

Crackers and hummus

Leftovers from dinner

sandwich and chips


I usually pack one of the above with a fruit (either a baggie of dried or an apple/banana, and sometimes a couple of cookies or a ff pudding cup.

mrodgers
05-28-2010, 11:09 PM
Ramen Noodles. How else are you going to get a lunch for $0.16.

I eat leftovers if there is any. If no leftovers and there's no Ramen Noodles, then I usually stop at the only convenience store in my area and get a slice of pizza. Their pizza is $2 and it's pepperoni stuffed crust to boot.

Sometimes its difficult. For a while, all my coworkers were ordering lunch every day. I don't know how they could spend $10 on lunch every single day for months and months. I'm the 2nd highest paid hourly person in the plant, so I know they make less than I do and I certainly couldn't afford that. It is tough though to look at your bowl of Ramen Noodles while they are all sitting there with Chinese delivery or giant steak hoagies.

My wife usually picks up a store hoagie on grocery day. The thing is so big, she cuts it in half to fit in the refrigerator. I think it is somewhere around $4 and it feeds all 4 of us for dinner and feeds my wife and I lunch the next day. We aren't cutting small little sandwiches off the thing either. We usually cut off about a 6-7 inch chunk for each person and it is also about 5 inches wide. It's a BIG! sandwich.

TxRabbit
05-29-2010, 12:19 AM
I pack DH's lunch. One thing that really helped us was to get him a lunch kit. Just like my DS has one for lunch, we bought DH an appropriate lunch box (which happens to be a soft sided 12-pack cooler) and I bought dedicated plastic and glass containers that fit well into the cooler.

My DH takes mid-morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack to work. We have containers that are usually used for each purpose. His midmorning snack is usually hard boiled eggs and fruit.

Lunch varies but is usually based on strategic leftovers. Could be grilled chicken with some sort of side dish like rice, pasta, sweet potatoes. Could also be a salad type thing, like a black-eyed pea salad, or a grain salad, like a cous cous thing. I pop in one of those microwaveable bags with a veggie. Could be stir fry. Could be soup or chili. Sometimes he takes a green salad instead of the starch side dish. Many times, I'll make the salad for lunch at the same time that I am making the salad for dinner. I'll just pull a serving out of the bowl to pack before dressing the salad for dinner.

The key to the whole thing is to get in your mind that when you cook dinner, you are actually ALSO cooking lunch. You might double recipes. For instance, I NEVER grill just enough chicken. I always grill a LOT so that I have left over grilled chicken for any number of things.

Afternoon snack is usually mixed veggies (crunch factor, we've been doing this for years), fruit, and some nuts.

It's a lot of food, but my DH works about 60+ miles away and that's just the way it is. It's good to eat a little something every few hours.

mommy2allyandaveri
05-29-2010, 12:27 PM
Hummus and celery
Fresh fruit
Fiber one bar
Instant oatmeal ( for breakfast)
I usually eat healthy choice or ww frozen meals. I have found the ones I like.

We all take our lunch every day.

Dh has
Sandwich
Soda
Apple
Yogurt
Fiber one bar
Small bag of chips
Has the same thing every day...

swilshire
05-30-2010, 10:17 AM
My wife usually picks up a store hoagie on grocery day. The thing is so big, she cuts it in half to fit in the refrigerator. I think it is somewhere around $4 and it feeds all 4 of us for dinner and feeds my wife and I lunch the next day. We aren't cutting small little sandwiches off the thing either. We usually cut off about a 6-7 inch chunk for each person and it is also about 5 inches wide. It's a BIG! sandwich.

Sounds like a huge sandwich. When Subway does their $5 foot longs, I'll sometimes get one and make it last for three days lunch. I pick up a bag of chips on sale at the grocery to go with it.

Sheila

sasywtch
05-31-2010, 01:27 AM
I also cook dinner with lunch in mind for the next day. I have my plastic container out and before I start serving dinner, I fill up my lunch container and put it in the fridge.
I keep a can of soup at work just in case and also take a full container of oatmeal and cinnamon to work for the month and eat that for breakfast.
Other than leftovers, I check out the sales on the frozen dinners (can usually get them for 88 cents), I just found some really good low fat raspberry dressing so plan on taking a lot of salad this week. One that people get jealous at work is when I take my own chinese. I cut chicken up in bite size pieces (size of a nickle), fry or bake in terriyaki sauce, make brown rice, scramble an egg to put in the rice, dice some onion and cook some mixed veggies for the rice--some terriyaki or soy sauce and instant chinese dinner and lunch the next day.

Sometimes I microwave a potato 75% of the way, put it in my container with butter and cheese. My absolute favorite is when my bf and I pack a lunch of salami, cheese and crackers, green olives and grapes. The huge bag of meatballs at Costco or whatever warehouse type store is also good for making a quick different kind of lunch.

The trick for me is to always make it the night before so I don't use the excuse that I don't have time in the morning.